I’m a little late on the bandwagon. You know, the whole Marie Kondo method thing? Well, I’m kinda talking about that today. We’re talking about de-cluttering your space, your life, and what you can do if you’re the type of person to develop emotional attachments to objects and things.
But I’m late for a good reason, I had to process it myself.
Look, we all like things to be neat and tidy. Everyone likes having all their ducks in a row. No one enjoys chaos. Some of us can handle it better than others but some of us always have higher pain tolerances. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt it just means how we react to it is a little different.
Anyway, it took me so long to write on this topic because I don’t like sharing advice without first testing it out. That doesn’t mean I exclusively tell you guys the stuff I like, I just like trying and testing everything out first.
So, the fun stuff.
For those of us who are sensitive or nostalgic or tend to just have any attachment to things, it can be really hard to look at objects as just objects. Even shirts. It took me ten years after junior high school to get rid of my gym shirts from it. And they weren’t comfortable. And I only wore them when I got dirty.
I think that too often, we hear “it’s just an object”. The get-over-it approach. Except that when it’s not an object to you, that statement feels like a slap in the face. And something that you can’t do anything about.
So, I’m not going to tell you that it’s just an object. We’ll take a different approach.
But before we get into that, let’s look at why we should de-clutter our life.
Negative Memories are everywhere and they’re something that we should look out for. It’s hard to go through life without accumulating stuff and it’s even harder to go through life without accumulating stuff that has some bad juju attached to it. The problem? We don’t let go.
It’s easy to just hang on to stuff that reminds us of ex’s, bad periods of life, and people who may no longer be with us on the Earth or just in our presence. The problem is that you don’t want something on your mantle that reminds you of your father’s last days or everything about your ex.
By surrounding yourself with things that are reminders of sadness or anger, you’re effectively reminding yourself to feel bad. All the time. You know what happens? You feel bad.
Unfortunately, getting rid of those things is the hardest. Why? Because they are emotionally charged. It hurts to get rid of something that you’ve grown a connection to over time and because of memories that, good or bad, you’re cherishing.
It’s scary to think that you could forget someone, something, or time in your life.
But, you cannot and should not cling to unnecessary things.
My first piece of advice: take one year to do this routine.
One full calendar year. Every three months, change of seasons-ish, go through clothes, knick-knacks, closets, miscellaneous items, jewelry, and boxed seasonal items. That’s a lot, I know. It sounds like a lot to go through, and it is. You do not have to do this all in one day or even one weekend.
But, taking a page from the Marie Kondo method, ask yourself if it makes you happy. Better yet, think of the first memory you associate with an object. Good? Bad? Neither?
Then the hard part, if it’s something you don’t love, feel you really need, or has a bad memory, it’s time for it to leave your life. You have to part with it. Now, this is where the seasonal part comes in. Sometimes you aren’t quite ready to get rid of something and that’s okay. That’s why it’s so important to revisit your belongings.
Remember, I’m not saying knick-knacks are bad or that you should live a minimalist lifestyle. I am saying that you don’t want to accumulate clutter. Unfortunately, having things around that don’t make you happy or enhance your life, is pointless.
Another tip: just ‘cus it was a gift doesn’t mean you have to keep it.
This goes along the lines of “well my grandmother/father is dead and this is from them”. Yes, but do you like it? Do you need it? Could it get more love somewhere else?
Okay, now let’s get into the nitty gritty of it. You’re starting to organize so that your room maybe looks like this one up there. You’re putting things you don’t want into a pile. Now what? If it isn’t socks or panties/boxers, give it to GoodWill. If you want to make a penny off it, have a garage sale.
This is such an important piece of de-cluttering your life. These things are important for you and you don’t want to get rid of them or feel like you’re abandoning something. Or you don’t want to see it in the trash. Trust me, I get it.
So what do you do? Give back. Give it to someone or some organization that will put it to good use. There are so many places out there that look for clothing, furniture, books, etc. If you don’t need it, someone would love to have it. That thought is a really good one because instead of throwing it away and feeling like you’re ending its “life”, you’re just bringing it to the medium that will ensure it is most loved.
Say, “thank you”.
I’m not sure where I picked this up, but I know it wasn’t originally my idea. When you are giving something away or throwing it away if you have to, say thank you. Thank the item for its service. Maybe even have a little talk, give it a pat, and place it where it needs to be.
Have someone else do it.
If you’re lucky enough to live with someone or are in a relationship with someone, say goodbye to the object and if you have a hard time parting with it, ask for help. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s okay to need help throwing something out or giving it away. I’ve done this in the past and I know I’ll do it in the future.
It’s hard enough if you’re attached to an object to get rid of it. There’s no need to force yourself into an emotionally upsetting situation if you can avoid it, right?
Take a picture, write a story.
Pictures are your friends. If you have the fear of forgetting it, forgetting the person, or forgetting the memories, take a picture! That snapshot will last forever, especially now. Create a folder, if you can, rename the pictures. Then, if you’re really worried about forgetting something, start a little journal and write out the story behind the picture. Label the top of the journal entry and boom, there you go. Permanent record.